Warning On Cell Phones Cancer Link

Australian Financial Review
Journalist: Stan Beer
October 25, 1999
The head of a major health research group funded by the United States mobile phone industry has advised the chairman of AT&T that there is strong evidence linking cell phones to brain cancer.

On October 6, Dr George Carlo, chairman of Wireless Technology Research LLC, wrote to the chairman and CEO of AT&T Corporation, Mr Michael Armstrong, seeking assistance with what Dr Carlo describes as an emerging and serious problem with wireless phones.

WTR has had $US27 million ($40 million) worth of funding from the US cellular telephone industry for the past six years to conduct studies into the health effects of mobile phones.

The source of the funding has resulted in strong criticism being leveled at Dr Carlo and WTR by anti-mobile phone health campaigners, who say they are in the pocket of the cell phone industry.

However, the leaked letter from Dr Carlo to Mr Armstrong points to specific findings of studies linking cell phones to brain tumours. These findings had been conveyed to the US cellular industry earlier this year at the annual convention of the US peak industry body, the Cellular Telephone Industry Association.

The findings showed that: The rate of brain cancer deaths was higher among hand-held mobile users than those using non-handhelds. The risk of rare tumours on the outside of the brain was more than doubled among cell phone users than non-users. Correlation between the occurrence of brain tumours on the right side of the head and use of phones on the right side of the head. The risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumour of the auditory nerve, was 50 per cent higher in people who reported using cell phones for six years or more. The ability of phone radiation to cause genetic damage was definitely positive and followed a dose-responsive relationship.

In his letter, Dr Carlo accused the wireless industry of ignoring its responsibility to follow up the findings and to protect consumers.

He said some segments of the industry had “repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers, including children, and have created an illusion of responsible follow-up by calling for and supporting more research”.

He said the industry was risking a consumer backlash similar to that faced by the tobacco industry